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How To Save Money By Having A Living Will

Updated on September 2, 2012

How Having a Living Will Can Save You Money

Outlining a living well is a simple task but one that many people, especially seniors, put off. Why? Because no one likes to think about dying.

Do you think it's possible to save money by simply having a living will in place? You bet!

Consider the alternative to not having a living will in place.

If you have a sudden catastrophic event such as a stroke or a heart attack, bystanders or family members will call for an ambulance and you will be transported to the nearest appropriate emergency room.

There, you will be poked and prodded in order to diagnose your condition and what event has transpired. That's all well and good, but let's say that it is a catastrophic brain hemorrhage as a result of a stroke. There is absolutely no hope of recovery of brain function and you have no reasonable expectation of ever regaining quality of life.

Would you want to be kept alive in that scenario? Would you think that maybe there was a miracle just around the corner and it could happen to you? It could but by and large, the fact is that in some cases, there simply is no hope.

Would you want to be incurring all those medical expenses simply because you didn't have a living will?


Because the medical profession is sworn to revive you, do everything they possibly can to keep your heart beating and you alive.

That includes but isn't limited to intubation (inserting a tube down your throat so that you can breathe and hooking you up to a ventilator), massive injections of drugs to keep your heart beating, drugs to increase or decrease your blood pressure and pulse and thus keep you alive, various tubes and catheters to measure your input and output and give you intravenous fluids, medicines, perhaps antibiotics, and drugs to keep you comfortable, drugs to keep you pain free, and drugs to feed you.

Again, their job is to keep you alive.

But what if you didn't want that? What if you'd made mention to people or family members that you didn't want these heroic measures in the event of a catastrophic event?

Without such things as living wills or advance directives, treating physicians cannot (and will not) just let you die!

So how to prevent this from happening in the future? Simple answer.....draw up a living will!


A living will is a legal document that defines your wishes specifically should something catastrophic occur. It covers such things as

  • Devastating stroke with a brain hemorrhage
  • Terminal illness with no hope of recovery
  • Massive heart attack
  • Medical situations where there simply is no hope for meaningful recovery
  • Severe trauma such as car accidents or other accidents


  • Will you accept treatment with antibiotics and under what circumstances?
  • Will you accept intravenous fluid administration to keep your blood pressure up?
  • Will you accept medications to slow your heart rate or speed it up or raise your blood pressure or lower it....all things that can happen with acute life-threatening situations?
  • Will you accept electrical shock to bring you back?
  • Will you accept blood products?
  • Will you accept blood thinners or other anti-thrombotic drugs?
  • Will you accept being intubated and put on a breathing machine?
  • Will you accept CPR in the event that you code or have a cardiac arrest?
  • Will you prefer to have all life support measures withdrawn if you are diagnosed to be incurable or in a state where you have absolutely no chance of recovery?
  • Will you accept comfort care measures such as oxygen and morphine to be kept comfortable until you die?

The whole point of a living will is meant to be explicit in things you will accept and things you will not accept.  Some states divide it into a DNR (do not resuscitate) order as well. 

Being specific about what things you will allow to keep you alive and things you won't makes it crystal clear to health providers (and family and friends).


  • A living will is a legal document and in order to make sure that you have the best possible chance of your wishes being carried out, you can see an attorney and find out how to have a living will drawn up. Or you can download forms on the Internet but they will need to be witnessed and notarized.
  • The bad news is that a living will in one state may not be transferrable to another state and they may not honor it! If you visit another state or move to another state, or even if you spend half the year in one state and the other half in another, it's important to know what to do about your living will. Only your attorney can tell you.
  • A living will is a legal document that needs to be witnessed by 2 people and it should notbe signed by people who could benefit from your death, meaning friends, people mentioned in your will or family members. Even your doctor or his staff should not sign living wills. You also need the living will notarized.
  • You can also post your living will to become a state record so that anyone would be able to verify whether or not you have a living will before starting live-saving procedures. (Call any attorney's office for more information on living wills)
  • It's also a good idea to have a copy of your living will in all of your doctors' charts.
  • Even more important, have a copy in the possession of at least one family member. Too often, a tragic event occurs and the person is transported to the hospital. While the personnel are trying to locate a living will, they are required by law to do everything they can do to save your life. So your living will may all be for nothing because they never saw it.....they just performed thousands of dollars worth of procedures on you and did everything you did not want done and all because they did not have their hands on your legal document. This happens every day.
  • Make sure someone in your family knowsyour deepest wishes but again, has the paper to back it up.
  • Make sure that the document is stored where it is the video points out, notin a safe deposit box!
  • You can have multiple people who have a copy of your living will or you can also think about setting up what's called a power of attorney or a health proxy.


A power of attorney is someone who has a legal right to speak for you - through again a legal document which is witnessed by 2 people and also notarized.  This piece of paper/document allows the person who is appointed as POA (power of attorney) to act on the behalf of the person suffering the catastrophic event.  There are also POA's for temporary situations or people who are unable to care for themselves.

In the scenario of a catastrophic event, the POA has the capability of producing your living will and making sure that your express wishes are carried out to the letter.  So if you have signed a living will stating no intubation or artificial life support, the medical personnel cannot do this. 

It should be noted that in drawing up a living will, you can be as extreme or as liberal as you want.  For instance, you can say you want antibiotics in this case or don't want it in another case.  You can say that you want CPR but you do not want intubation or a ventilator.  It's as broad as you, the person/patient, want to make it. 

Taking time to consider what your true wishes are and not those of your family and friends is really vital to your mental health because after all, it is YOUR living will and your wishes should be the ones that are carried out. 

How Can a Living Will Save You Money?

  • An attorney can draw up either a living will or a power of attorney. Many people put this off because frankly they just don't want to deal with it.
  • Having a living will in place does take away the element of confusion if something catastrophic were to happen. It can also actually make things much simpler in terms of "letting go". It dispels much of the guilt that people feel when they are forced to make hard decisions in an emergency about someone they love. When it's in black and white, and the person's wishes are crystal clear, the guilt is gone.
  • Having a living will spells it out in literally for all to see. Take some time to think through what your wishes are and then draw up your living will and maybe a power of attorney. You'll rest better knowing that you have these things taken care of should it become necessary to access these documents.
  • You'll also have the peace of mind in knowing that you aren't being revived when there is no hope to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars and perhaps being kept alive indefinitely on machines.
  • As blunt as it may sound, I would be furious if I was lying useless in a hospital bed with no hope of meaningful recovery while creating debt! Even if most of the expenses were covered by my insurance, there are still deductibles and things that are not covered and hundreds of thousands of dollars add up very quickly in a hospital setting!
  • For those who can't afford an attorney, there are forms available on various websites and books and information on the Internet like Lectlaw and in public libraries.

Don't let a catastrophe catch you or your loved ones by surprise. I've seen it happen all too often. The only way to avoid it is to have that living will in place and have someone you love and trust in the know on how to make sure it's used.


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    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Thanks VC - glad you liked it!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      9 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Fantastic hub! I tend to hide my head in the sand and think I will live forever. A great reminder and I am bookmarking this. Thanks so very much for providing a much needed service. Rated up. I'll be back! vocalcoach

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for the congrats!

    • sid_candid profile image


      9 years ago

      I am speechless. This is one of the best hub I have come across. Good to see this hub win. Many congratulations on your win.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Thank you Jodi for stopping by.

    • JodiVee profile image


      9 years ago

      Great hub -- it's clear to see that you've researched this topic diligently. Thank you for an informative hub.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Loren's Gem....I see it every day in medical transcription and feel so sorry for the poor patient who did not want all that stuff done to him or her! I appreciate your congrats!!

    • Loren's Gem profile image

      Loren's Gem 

      9 years ago from Istanbul, Turkey

      Excellent info! I've never known so much about living wills before until after I read this very comprehensive hub of yours. Having a living will sounds very practical - both for the one concerned and the next of kin. Thanks for the great share akirchner - and congrats for the well-deserved win! :-)

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Thanks so much, Purple Perl for stopping in. Indeed it should be acted on. I started all this for my mom but it also motivated me to spring into action! Thanks so much for your kind congrats!

    • Purple Perl profile image

      Esther Shamsunder 

      9 years ago from Bangalore,India

      A handy guide for the living! This hub need to be acted upon! Thanks for this eyeopener! And congrats! Excellent hub as usual!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Steph

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Marshall 

      9 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Super hub! Congratulations on the win. Having a living will is so important and is often overlooked by people during financial planning.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Thanks very well put! I have been researching this a lot for my mom who is 81 and even working in medical transcription and seeing what I see every day doesn't cover it all!

      It pays to know what to do before it happens so that's where I'm trying to get my mom to go - easier said than done!

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 

      9 years ago from Northern, California

      A well deserved win for an outstanding hub. Nicely thought out presentation. Your step by step layout really makes it easy to comprehend. The DNR info is usually the thing people neglect to consider. Yet, it is so important if you're the one who has to inform the medical team of the 'dos' and 'don'ts' when the time comes for critical treatment of a loved one. It is a thoughtful thing to do for yourself and for those who your life may impact. A Living Will is a Loving Will. Way up and awesome.


    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Darski - Thanks so much for stopping by and glad you have it taken care of!!

      Hanna - Thanks so much and glad to be of help with all this financial jazz!!!!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      That is a fantastic idea I never thought of. Thank you, Audrey.

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 

      9 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Great hub, I have a living will to save my family all the challanges that could come about. Plus I have DNR on my freg....At least I know from this wonderful hub there is alway more to do. rate up Love & Peace darski

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Thanks so much calicoaster~!

    • calicoaster profile image


      9 years ago

      Awessssssome Audrey!!! :D ..Congratulations on the very well deserved it. Excellent hub!! :)

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Johnny - Thanks for stopping by!

    • Johnny Parker profile image

      Johnny Parker 

      9 years ago from Birkenhead, Wirral, North West England

      Congratulations on your deserved win.

      A living will is not something I'd heard of before but definitely worth thinking about.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Gordon, thanks so much for stopping by - you can actually do much of this on your own on line if you know what you want....the real will and the living will. The living will is actually what you want people doing to you to keep you alive, which can in fact cost you thousands of dollars even if your life is not savable which really bothers me most of all.

      I am happy that you found the hub helpful - but congrats on your wins as well~!!!

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image

      Gordon Hamilton 

      9 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Wow - you have really got me thinking! I have never heard of a living will before and although my religious beliefs mean that I believe such decisions be left to a higher authority, you have reminded me that I have no will of any type! Were anything to happen to me, I have no idea what would happen, or who would these days legally claim my (meagre!) possessions and legacies. Thanks for the wake up - I think I need to find out whether my one time lawyer is still in practice and pay him a visit... :)

      Congratulations also on your well deserved win.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Oceansnsunsets - You are so kind - and I am truly thrilled at getting a staff pick. The subject matter though is really important to me so that makes it even better. I believe in folks having their life and their death be left up to them and this is the best way I know how to make sure that that happens. Thanks so much for your comment!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Om - coming from you that is a compliment indeed~ Thanks so much and it is a subject very near and dear to my heart having seen too many people go through it and not get what THEY want.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image


      9 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      AKirchner, thank you for sharing this very valuable information on living wills. Congratulations on your staff pick win as well, you must be very excited!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 

      9 years ago

      Very informative. Very well-organized. Very cool!!! Rated it awesome. :)

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Pamela - they truly are if you want to leave this life the way you want to. I also have lived through this first hand with my brother-in-law who had a living will and they kept him alive because no one produced the document. That was the saddest thing!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Audry, This is a great hub about living wills. They are so important.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Simone...I see it every day and I guess that's why I'm so fired up about it. Poor Mrs. Smith comes in from the nursing home and they do thousands and thousands of dollars of tests on her all because no one could find anyone with her living will! It's just a terrible way to get into debt and most folks don't even come out of it to protest it!

      I actually think there should be legislation passed where we file a living will so that it would be available universally but maybe someday!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      This is a great Hub, and I'm so glad you've addressed the issue of living wills! I'm only 23, and I really want to have one made. Anything could happen to anyone at any time, right? It never hurts to be prepared :D

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      BKC - I hear you!! It's an easy thing to let these things slide by - I think the video says only 38% of people have a living will and I would say that would be a high quote....I read somewhere that only 25% or less have a real will. It's a terrible thing should something happen.

      Thanks for stopping by and I'm planning on living to at least 100!!! I'll see ya at the home!!

    • BkCreative profile image


      9 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Ok - I am really going to do this - this year. Further - I am bookmarking your hub as a reminder.

      Golly, I miss the old days when I could have lived - first of all to be 100 like my elders from the South - and then I could just be thrown in the ground when it was all over.

      So much to do before I kick the bucket. Maybe I...just won't kick the bucket. That'll show them. Or something.

      Great informative hub - really good, and thanks a lot!

      Rated up of course! Yay!


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